Foster Headed to The Hall
By Brandon Castel
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Long-time Ohio State coach Jim Foster is headed for the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame.
Photo by Jim Davidson
The 63-year-old Pennsylvania native was selected as one of six members in the Hall of Class of 2013 on Tuesday during the USA vs. Brazil game at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C.
Foster has been the women’s coach in Columbus for the past 10 seasons and has helped the Buckeyes qualify for a school-record 10-consecutive NCAA tournaments and rank in the national Top 10 in five of the last seven seasons.
He is the eighth-winningest active coach in Division I and is just the second collegiate coach—men's or women's at any level—to win at least 200 games at three different schools (St. Joseph’s, Vanderbilt and Ohio State).
A four-time Big Ten Coach of the Year (2005-07, '09), Foster led the Buckeyes to a record-setting sixth consecutive Big Ten regular season title and a second-straight tournament title in 2010 while setting a program record with 31 wins.
Foster spent his first 13 years as a head coach at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, where he had attended Cardinal Dougherty High School and Temple University.
He left St. Joseph’s in 1991 to coach 11 years at Vanderbilt University before he was hired by former OSU Athletics Director Andy Geiger in 2002. At Vanderbilt, Foster compiled a 256-99 record in 11 seasons (1991-2002) with an impressive .721 winning percentage, a 1993 Final Four appearance, four Elite Eight trips and three Sweet Sixteen finishes.
During his tenure with the Commodores, 10 of his teams finished the season ranked in the Top 25. Prior to Foster's arrival, Vanderbilt had yet to win more than half its conference games, but he quickly reversed that trend. Under his leadership, the Commodores captured three SEC postseason tournament championship titles (1993, '95 and 2002) and made five trips (1993, '94, '95, 2001 and '02) to the SEC tournament championship game.
Throughout his coaching career, the Abington, Pa., native has posted a 765-294 (.722) record and his squads have made 27 postseason appearances (26 NCAA tournaments), including 13 consecutive NCAA tournaments, four trips to the Elite Eight, 11 Sweet Sixteen's and one Final Four.
But probably the most impressive statistic goes way beyond wins, tournament berths and championships. Throughout his coaching career, Foster has preached the importance of academics. In addition to his players consistently earning high marks in the classroom, every student-athlete who has played for Foster at St. Joe's, Vanderbilt and Ohio State has gone on to earn their degree.
Two years ago, the Ohio State women's basketball squad was honored once again with an APR (Academic Progress Rate) score in the Top 10 percent of all Division I squads in the sport.
He is considered one of the true “Trailblazers of the Game” of women’s basketball, with a head-coaching career dating back to 1978. He helped the U.S. Women’s Team to a gold medal at the Olympic Festival as an assistant back in 1987. He would do the same at the World Championships in 1990.
In 1997, Foster led the United States to a gold medal as the head coach of the women’s team at the World University Games. He would also coach the Young Women’s National Team to a gold medal in 2003.
The other five members of the Class of 2013 include Gary Blair (coach), Peggie Gillom-Granderson (player), Jen Rizzotti (player), Annette Smith-Knight (player) and Sue Wicks (player).
The Class of 2013 will be formally introduced at the 2012 State Farm Tip-Off Classic between Baylor and Kentucky Nov. 13th in Waco, Texas, and inducted into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame June 8, 2013 in Knoxville, Tenn.
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